Last Updated on January 21, 2022
If you are running ecommerce then you must give importance to the hosting services you are currently using. It is highly responsible for the overall performance of your site, its working, speed, security, and many other things. But how to find a good & reliable hosting partner? What are the benefits of a reliable hosting provider, and many other things to know? In this article, we will discuss all these things. Let’s begin by knowing the meaning of eCommerce hosting.
What Is eCommerce Hosting? An Introduction
When you wish to launch an ecommerce store online, you need a platform to host that ecommerce store which is called a web host or hosting. Hosting basically gives a server on which you can place your site. From this server, the site will connect to the internet and people will use it then.
In simple words, you are buying a right to use someone else’s server unused space. You can also get your own server from the company that provides hosting such as Amazon, GoDaddy, etc. There are many different forms & specializations in which you can get hosting. Some hosting providers are popular for their hardware on which they are based while some come with specialized plans with unique features. But what is actually an ecommerce hosting? It is a bundle of special features tailored towards a particular niche of business. The hosting can include free SSL encryption, scalability for high traffic, an extra layer of security, payment gateways support, or many other things.
Remember, almost every hosting solution comes with different capabilities. If you are looking for hosting for your ecommerce store then you need to find a robust and safe hosting solution. Let’s know about the different types of hosting solutions available in the market.
Types Of eCommerce Hosting
You can find many different types of hosting of which you must know, which are on the basis of the server’s hardware and setup. Alternatively, there are three main types of hosting:
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Hosting
- VPS Hosting
If you are a new startup or individual who wants to go online then you can prefer Shared hosting. It is cheaper than other types of hosting but on the other side, you will also get slower speed. You also have to share the space of the server with other different websites. We will not recommend this hosting for your ecommerce store until & unless you can’t afford any other type of hosting.
Dedicated hosting is actually cloud hosting. This is amongst the best solutions for hosting in ecommerce sites. It can quickly outgrow the server environment of your ecommerce store and is also highly scalable. It means if the traffic is high then you can increase the scalability and vice versa. It is also very affordable for startups. This is something which you actually require.
VPS is an acronym for “virtual private server”. In this, the machine of your server will be shared with other sites, but the resources would be in isolation, so you don’t have to face any issue of the shared hosting. However, this is not better dedicated or cloud hosting. In dedicated hosting, you get your own physical server but obviously not at the lower rates.
There is another ground for the types of hosting i.e. Managed & Unmanaged hosting.
This is cheaper than the managed hosting. But there is a downfall, in unmanaged hosting, you would be responsible for setting up the server and its configuration, along with its security & maintenance. You are just buying an empty server.
In contrast to unmanaged hosting, in this, you will get a complete setup, configuration, security, maintenance, support & updates.
Importance Of Choosing The Right Hosting Provider
You must be wondering if you can get a slower speed hosting or a less secure hosting at lower costs then why there is a need for spending extra. Well, there are many important reasons for this. Let’s know the importance of choosing the right hosting provider.
1. Customers Don’t Browse A Slow Site
Today, we are living in a high-speed internet world where the customers don’t expect the site to work slower. Do you know if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load then the customers will leave your site and find another alternative? In fact, nearly 47% of the customers expect the site to load in less than 2 seconds.
Apart from the customer experience, the speed of the site plays an important role in determining its ranking as well. It is because a search engine like Google takes time for producing results if it can’t discover the site quickly. To find pages, Google branches out from your homepage or sitemap and “crawls” the links. If the speed of the site is low then the pages wouldn’t be included in the index of Google.
The best hosting for your ecommerce store would be able to manage the volume of traffic. If there is any traffic spike or performance, it would manage all. It comes with caching & CDN.
According to wphost.nz – “Caching is an important feature of every web host as caching can make the web pages faster by storing the data of the web page and thus removing calls to the database”.
A CDN is a widespread server group for managing the resources of the website including the media and image files. It will help in reducing the loading time of the site.
2. Customers Don’t Browse A Less Secure Site
Although anyone can enter the ecommerce world, you need to provide proper security to the customer on your store. Every browser is different regarding security measures. Chrome gives utmost priority to keeping the customers’ data safe when they surf the web. This is why it is amongst the most popular browsers.
It will symbolize your site as “less secure” if the site is not encrypted with an HTTPS SSL certificate. When the customer will see this they will not be confident in working on your site. SSL or Secured Socket Layer certificates are small files placed on the server. It encrypts the data which is being transmitted between the website servers. The hosting comes with digital signature verification. It is highly required for secure data transfer, payments or transactions, and is also used for surfing on social media sites.
Without an SSL certificate, Chrome will also warn the users before landing on your website. It will also increase the speed of your site. While some ecommerce website owners are afraid that adding an SSL certificate is expensive or complicated, a good web host will offer encryption as part of their package.
3. Downtime Is Not Affordable
If the site is not accessible to the customers they will not purchase anything from your site. Even if your site got down for an hour, it can hugely impact the revenue varying on the day, sales volume, traffic, and the region.
Also, if your site got down frequently, it will impact the reputation of your brand. It can even sink your business. Mostly, the sites go down when they are in maintenance. If you are going for planned maintenance then it is wise that you inform your visitors about that in advance. Unplanned downtime is more of a threat because it can take longer to remediate.
Important Factors To Consider While Choosing Your eCommerce Hosting
There are many essential features that you must look at an ecommerce hosting. Here are the important considerations that you must check:
1. High Performance
When you are running an ecommerce store, your utmost priority is to find a hosting solution that is fast & reliable. As we mentioned above, more than half of the site visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and 80% of these will never return to your site. You can lose a major chunk of your customers due to this.
If you are opting for shared hosting for its lower cost then you must know that it is slow and has frequent downtime. This is unacceptable for any online store. There are many hosts that come with an unreliable infrastructure that is highly prone to slowdowns or crashes. Here are some metrics you can consider:
CDN must be definitely included in your hosting plan. These are a wide network of servers dispersed across a demographic. When user access somewhere far away from the server, then the CDN nearby the user takes the responsibility of serving the data. This reduces the loading time to a great extent.
The hosting provider must include performance & uptime monitoring for immediate alerts if anything goes wrong on your site. You would be able to take action on whether the server should go down or you have to check everything.
2. File Storage & Bandwidth
There is a lot of data on the ecommerce site which requires a lot of file space. Also, an ecommerce site pulls in the most traffic. Henceforth, you have to find a hosting service that has enough resources to handle this else you will end up paying hefty overage fees.
In an ecommerce site, product images are the driving factor for sales, and they must be of high quality. However, these images took a lot of space, especially when your store becomes a huge store. Hence, check the limits on bandwidths and file storage of your hosting.
In most sites, the incoming traffic gradually over a period of time. However, in an ecommerce site, you can’t predict the nature of your traffic, as it is highly varied. They can often trigger a huge surge in traffic. Customers will come out of nowhere, and the growth would be exponential. For e.g. in Coronavirus, a huge portion of the retail customers went online to buy their regular commodities.
For your ecommerce store, you must consider two different types of scaling: auto-scaling when the traffic is very high and scalable resources that grow over a period of time.
Auto-scaling is required for ecommerce stores due to the surges of traffic that come with holiday periods. Your regular plan can be best for you for the whole year, however during the holiday season, shoppers come rushing in, and you will go out of resources. Auto-scaling essentially means that the hosting infrastructure is able to handle all the sudden surges in traffic and load.
Check out the load balancing feature too. It will distribute the traffic on your site evenly on all resources and prevent downtime due to an unexpected surge of visitors. Both load balancing and auto-scaling are highly required features.
4. Proactive Support
Issues and errors in hosting are a common thing. But what is more relevant is the support team with whom you can discuss the issues. If the support team is not ready to offer you help, then your site can remain down for hours. It should be friendly, fast, and helpful support to help you when there is a proactive manner.
The support team should be consist of experienced developers. If the servers and website host infrastructure are built well, then there would be meager chances of downtime, and the support team will assist you even in the most unexpected issues.
5. Full Security
Ecommerce sites are often the target of attacks by hackers as they have a lot of sensitive data such as debit or credit card numbers of customers, Paypal account details, bank passwords, user details, etc. It is easier for them to hack a poorly secure website and mostly new startups don’t have a complete idea of how to protect their online store.
Website security is up to you and your developing team. But the hosting provider can be also responsible for any hack threats. When there are flaws in the server code then the hackers can use malicious code to infiltrate the site, accessing data of users, recording passwords, and many other things.
Hence, you must use a hosting that knows what they are doing. As an online store owner, you must have an SSL certificate to encrypt incoming and outcoming sensitive data.
6. Ecommerce Platform Integration
While developing an ecommerce store you also have to choose the platform on which you want to develop an ecommerce store. There are numerous such platforms available like Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, etc. Now suppose you choose Magento as an ecommerce platform. Then the hosting should work well with this platform.
Another thing you need to consider is PCI compliance by the hosting provider. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry. It is a set of security standards for keeping the users’ data from being leaked because of the poor industry.
7. Regular Automatic Backups
You should have no qualm in realizing the importance of backups in an ecommerce site. The backup must be taken automatically at regular intervals of time. In some cases, either daily, weekly, or even hourly.
In the case, you don’t have a backup, and you make sudden changes or the site gets crashed, etc. then you will end up losing all your data and efforts. It can be a setback for your ecommerce business. That’s why you need a host with backups built-in, so you can run your business with peace of mind.
8. Developer Friendly
If you are having technical knowledge or a developer, then you will definitely love hosting which is highly easy to understand or developer-friendly. You obviously don’t want to tinker with critical files and bringing the whole website crashing down.
To know more about various factors when choosing a web hosting service such as server response speeds, advanced security, and quality 24/7 customer support take a look at the best ecommerce hosting providers comparison.
Criteria for Choosing A Good Web Hosting for Your Online Store
How Much Is Your Budget?
There are plenty of hosting plans to fit any budget, however, overspending, as well as underspending is not good for your ecommerce business. So, decide what features you want and then decide on a budget that doesn’t put too much strain on your pocket.
How Much Development Experience Do You Possess?
Do you want to build an ecommerce website from scratch and do you have the skill and time to mess with the technical aspects of web development by yourselves? If not then choose a hosting provider which can augment your web development process.
How Much Tech Support Will You Require?
Do you have enough technical experience to handle technical issues like server caching and load balancing? If not then keep this in mind while choosing an ecommerce hosting provider.
The choice of hosting for your ecommerce store will have strong repercussions throughout the lifetime of the store. Hosting can impact the ecommerce store in many different ways such as by its performance, security, quality support, etc. At Emizentech, we will give you the proper consultation for hosting and every other aspect of your ecommerce store. We are having expertise in developing ecommerce stores from scratch. Let us know your requirements.